The Ascent
A Poem About Raising One's Awareness

citizens of flatland
hear these words
with your sideways ears
no longer can we afford
to keep crashing sidelong

our voices rattle in our edginess
a gurgling of our greediness
for our paper-thin desires

dipped into camphor
to protect our gains
from the moths of disappointments

but this 2-D game
is filled with matches
and our world trembles
out of fear of one good strike

lookup, dear friends,
lift your nose from the ground
and fathom what ‘up’ can mean
ponder upon that direction

in your plane upon the runway
and you will fly up the steps
to the teocalli of a new perspective

while this new dimension
will bring a joy unseen
no saccharine songs will drip forth
to sully the steps of your climb
for as you look back
you will feel into all those left behind
the pain of those too afraid
to riven themselves from their survival minds

but know that the avoidance
of the beckoning gaze

will end with each in turn
and a new vision will emerge
inspired by your ascent

Janaka Stagnaro

Flatland is the name of a novella by a 19th-century math teacher named Edwin A. AbbottWhile I have never read the book I first was introduced to the concept of Flatland by Carl Sagan in the 70s from his book and series, CosmosIt has been a powerful allegory for me over these many years to remind myself that I do not really know shit when it comes to multi-dimensional realities. I may have had experiences of ‘up,’ but revealing such truths accurately in our limited-dimensional language, I can only make poor attempts. Mystics, poets, and artists attempt the impossible of describing the ineffable, but always fall short. Maybe it is the attempt that is most important.


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